Health Education and Discovering Science while Unlocking Potential – Phase II

Project Audience

Basic genetics advanced genetics diabetes cardiovascular disease nutrition physical activity the nervous system the immune system infectious diseases.

Subjects Addressed

Goals: Increase student self-efficacy for science academic aspirations interest in health science careers; and improve performance and competence in science Increase teacher confidence in teaching topics related to health science and biomedical research Increase family/parent academic aspirations for their children and enhance family/parent knowledge about health science topics Components DVD/teacher CD curriculum: videos with cutting-edge content presented by health science experts student actors graphics/animation; classroom activities; glossaries assessment tools Teacher professional development: Teacher Summer Science Institute trainings/workshops consulting opportunities to help develop/update materials Parent outreach: participation in community events with free screenings and health education Museum visits: field trips for students to the Health Museum that tie in with project topics Elementary science corners: program that introduces science/technology laboratories to elementary classrooms; 5th grade teachers and students conduct investigations using data collection analysis synthesis and reporting to experience scientific methods and processes

Project Website

Project Description

DVD/teacher CD containing full curriculum for each of the six modules: Genes Health & You Advanced Genetics Diabetes/Cardiovascular Disease Nutrition /Physical Activity The Nervous System The Immune System & Infectious Diseases Ancillary curriculum materials include a clinical research trials unit and a guidelines document for creation of elementary school science corners Collaborative opportunities with fellow SEPA projects school districts community groups and other projects and organizations Access to University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHSC-H) faculty and staff

Resources for Sharing

Dissemination targeted to minority students in Houston Lower Rio Grande Valley and across Texas: Work with school district administrators and science departments to distribute materials to and conduct training for teachers Facilitate teacher workshops and foster project collaborations with Project GRAD Houston Regional Education Service Centers Texas Regional Collaboratives for Excellence in Science & Mathematics Teaching Rio Grande Valley Science Association UTHSC-H CCTS and more Network/collaborate with key project partners and other interested parties by participating in meetings and presenting at local regional and national conferences Integrate Nutrition/Physical Activity and Diabetes/Cardiovascular Disease materials as classroom component of CATCH Middle School a program approved by Texas Education Agency to meet Senate Bill 42 mandating all middle schools in Texas to implement a coordinated school health program by the 2007-08 school year. Trainings and dissemination provided through Flaghouse and Dell Center


The goal of this project is to expand evaluate and disseminate a health science curriculum “HEADS UP” for 5th through 8th grades developed through collaborations between a health science center and its clinical research center a school district a health and medical science museum a school reform project and a Hispanic health center. HEADS UP (Health Education and Discovering Science while Unlocking Potential) consists of multimedia modules containing CD-ROMs VHS tapes lesson plans and classroom activities designed to meet state and national science standards and bring biomedical science and scientists into the classroom. We aim to develop and test 5th through 8th grade science curriculum modules a teacher development component and a parent education component and disseminate HEADS UP along with the parent and teacher components in elementary and middle schools in Houston and the lower Rio Grande Valley. The 5th grade module on scientific methods processes and technology incorporates data collection and analysis. Middle school (6th through 8th grade) modules cover genetics cardiovascular disease diabetes physical activity nutrition the nervous system and will be expanded to include the immune system and advanced genetics including stem cell research and transgenic animals. Professional development sessions for teachers include the clinical research process emphasizing science technology and translational research. The clinical research process will also educate parents about diabetes as a disease. We hypothesize that: Students who participate in HEADS UP will have increased self-efficacy for science increased academic aspirations increased interest in science careers and better grades in science than students not participating in HEADS UP Teachers participating in HEADS UP will have increased confidence in teaching topics related to health science and biomedical research than teachers not participating in HEADS UP Families participating in HEADS UP will have increased academic aspirations and enhanced knowledge about biomedical sciences and disease than those not participating in HEADS UP At the end of this five-year project a set of 5th through 8th grade science curriculum modules developed by teachers will emphasize contemporary and applied biomedical science be demonstrated to be effective in a rigorous trial be disseminated in districts in the Rio Grande Valley and be available for national distribution.

Project Evaluation(s)

Evaluation Goals – In cooperation with Project GRAD Houston a third-party evaluation with the University of Houston-Downtown is conducting a rigorous evaluation of the effectiveness of program materials on student performance and attitudes toward science as well as the effectiveness on teachers’ self efficacy and interest in making changes in the instructional environment. It is anticipated that results of these evaluations will make significant contributions to knowledge about learning and teaching. Evaluation Design – Formative Evaluation: An overall project timeline and production timeline are developed to ensure successful product delivery. Major components of the formative evaluation process include: Brainstorming sessions with public health professionals field experts teachers school districts Curriculum specialists multimedia specialists project and community partners Conduct informal student focus groups and incorporate feedback into program design Script and rough cut video reviews by field experts for scientific content accuracy Script and video reviews by teachers for structure design terminology student appeal Script reviews by teachers and curriculum specialists for alignment with state and national science education standards Incorporate pop culture terminology during filming per the advice of student actors Incorporate unsolicited comments/feedback from those who have received materials Summative Evaluation for student outcomes – Instruments Used: Stanford Achievement Test Scores (science math and reading) provided through school district Student science questionnaire Student occupational questionnaire Design: Quasi-experimental matched comparison prospective cohort study. An intervention school and comparison school were matched at baseline on size percentage of minority students percentage of free-reduced lunch status students and academic performance. Students were matched on ethnicity free-reduced lunch status gender and 5th grade scores on the Stanford Achievement Test in science and followed for three years into 8th grade. Teachers in the intervention school were provided four project curriculum modules and training. Results – Among 214 pairs of students with complete data 54.2% were male; 93.9% were Hispanic and 6.1% were African American. Students in the intervention school scored significantly higher (F=12.38 p<.001) on the Stanford Achievement Test in science in 8th grade than their matched pair in the comparison school with an effect size of .23. Students in the intervention school also reported significantly greater interest in science (F=11.08 p<.001) at 8th grade. In a subgroup analysis of 31 pairs of students with high implementation in the intervention school students in the intervention school scored significantly higher in mathematics and science and reported greater confidence in pursuing science careers and greater interest in science.